Saturday Notebook: Gibson's Debut, Prepping For The Future, STFU, Mound Drawings, And More

Tom Szczerbowski

Today's Saturday Notebook looks at my expectations for Kyle Gibson's debut today, Rays rookie Wil Myers being unable to relax on his first major league off day, Rays owner Stuart Sternberg working on getting a new stadium despite still having 14 years remaining on his current lease, Yankees GM Brian Cashman getting annoyed at Alex Rodriguez tweeting about his recovery from surgery, another person getting annoyed by an etching in the mound, and just how beloved Blue Jays shortstop Munenori Kawasaki can be.

Happy Kyle Gibson Day!

After having the anticipation build for the whole first half of the season and now these last 5 days in which I think we all barely survived, we finally get a look at the player that is now likely the best pitcher in the rotation before he's even thrown his first pitch. While that certainly speaks of Gibson's talent, it also speaks of the definitive lack in the current rotation as well.

While I'm sure Gibson will be an improvement over everyone else, I still feel like we have to temper our expectations. No. Gibson is not a savior. He will not single-handedly propel the Twins from a sub-.500 record to a playoff spot. He won't help Justin Morneau find his lost power. However, Gibson certainly should bring some relief from having to watch Mike Pelfrey and Pedro Hernandez start games, and should certainly be more exciting than Kevin Correia, P.J. Walters, and Scott Diamond. As for comparing him with Samuel Deduno, well... that depends on how you feel on ol' Sammy and his crazy fastball.

I'm not trying to be pessimistic, I'm just trying to stay grounded. I don't want to freak out if Gibson pitches poorly, and I don't want to think he's a godsend if he throws a 2-hitter through 7 innings against the Royals today. After all, that's kind of how most of us reacted to Carl Pavano in 2010 and Scott Diamond last year, and we're no longer singing the praises of those men, are we?

What I hope is for Gibson's sinker to be working, his change-up keeps the Royals off-balance, and that slider helps him rack up some strikeouts, which will definitely be a sight for sore eyes. I'll have a prediction of Gibson's outing in the game thread later today, and it will be modest but reasonable. Who knows, maybe he really will 2-hit the Royals anyway.

  • This first article is rather brief, but it talks about the whirlwind that Rays outfielder and stud prospect Wil Myers had to go through upon being called up by Tampa Bay. Since he was taken out of the Durham Bulls lineup on July 16th and joined the big league club immediately, he hasn't had any time to get acclimated to his new surroundings. Myers finally had an off day this week, and he used it to find an apartment, buy some clothes, and his girlfriend will drive his car to St. Petersburg from North Carolina next weekend. Save for Dirk Hayhurst living in the hotel across the street from Petco Park in Out Of My League, this is a side of a baseball player's lifestyle that we rarely even fathom.
  • Sticking with the Rays, we have good news and bad news. The good news is that the Rays and owner Stuart Sternberg are preparing for a move out of Tropicana Field. The bad news is that they still will not get out of their lease early, which if you recall is not set to expire until after the 2027 season. That has not stopped Sternberg from getting an early jump on life post-Trop, as he tells Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports. Sternberg acknowledges that a stadium will not be ready immediately at the conclusion of the season, so he is busy researching locales for a new stadium. As we know with the Twins, it took a long time for a stadium to be built, so while 14 years is still a long time for Sternberg and the Rays, it's very possible that he will need all of that time to get a new ballpark approved and built.
  • Alex Rodriguez is in the news again, and this time it's really not even his fault. He recently started a Twitter account and earlier this week tweeted and posted a photo on Instagram with the caption, "Visit from Dr. Kelly over the weekend, who gave me the best news - the green light to play games again!" Now, it might be important to note that this "Dr. Kelly" is not a Yankees team doctor, but rather the man that performed the surgery on A-Rod's hip. Although the tweet was perfectly innocuous in my eyes, the Yankees took offense to the comments, especially GM Brian Cashman, who told Andrew Marchand from ESPN that Rodriguez "should just shut the f--- up" about his comeback. With a response as abrasive as Cashman's, you'd think that it was made off the record, but Marchand clarified that Cashman knew his comments were on the record. Eventually Cashman apologized for his choice of words, but it seems like he had a significant overreaction to this whole mess... unless of course that he was already fed up with A-Rod.
  • Last season, Paul Lukas of Uni-Watch made a big deal out of P.J. Walters etching "AFW" into the backside of the mound during his starts. "AFW" stands for his daughter Annabelle, who died at 52 days old in February 2010. Now it's the Cardinals that apparently have angered someone with a mound etching, except it's not a player's fault. Bill McClellan of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch isn't pleased that the Cardinals grounds crew regularly draws a cross into the mound at Busch Stadium. The cross is also accompanied by the number 6 (former Cardinal great Stan Musial's number), but McClellan has no issue with the number. Somewhat amusingly, McClellan has no reason for why he dislikes the cross on the mound, other than he feels religion and sports shouldn't mix and that it makes him feel uneasy. In fact, it's the latter point that he mentions repeatedly in the article, and barely anything else. Really, if you're going to have a problem with what a player (or in this case a team employee) is doing, you need to have a better reason to back up your argument than "I just don't like it." If you don't, then you're barely better than a politician or a middle schooler.
  • On a related note, many rallied behind former Twin Pat Neshek after his son Gehrig John died prematurely during last year's playoffs. Neshek put a patch on his right sleeve that said "GJN," everyone talked about how brave and honorable it was that he did not take a leave of absence from the A's after Gehrig John's death, and TV cameras were constantly showing close-ups of Neshek while announcers raved about his actions and mourned his son's death, and yet there were no complaints about it. Sorry, I guess I still am a bit annoyed by Paul Lukas.
  • My final article I will link involves Blue Jays shortstop Munenori Kawasaki. The Japanese shortstop is clearly not one of the best athletes on the field, but he is the epitome of the "good clubhouse guy." So much so that when regular starting shortstop Jose Reyes was eligible to come off the disabled list, there were talks of Kawasaki staying in Toronto even though his demotion made the most sense for the team. Kawasaki has mounted teammates after walk-off wins, dances in the dugout, warms up like no one else, and more. There's a list of 16 reasons why Kawasaki is so awesome, that's how much he is appreciated. He is so well-respected that when Kawasaki was eventually demoted for Reyes, manager John Gibbons actually held a team meeting on Wednesday to announce the transaction, a gesture that never happens in the major leagues. Plus, being excellent as usual, Kasawaki had a message in Japanese to fans.
"Well, it's not as if I've died. I'm still a baseball player. It's just that tomorrow the field will be different. But I'm still around, and I'm here to help the team when they need it. And it's been a terrific experience, and I really appreciate everybody, and I love everybody.
Don't worry, Munenori has not disappeared for long, as the Blue Jays placed outfielder Melky Cabrera on the 15-day DL and recalled Kawasaki just 2 days after his demotion.

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Finally, I'll admit that this week's rapid-fire GIF, tweet, & video collection is rather meek today, but I tried the best I could and I feel I made up for it with extra content above.

1. Ryan Doumit was not out, still not out, and then finally called safe.

Doumit_scoring0005_1_medium

Here's a slo-mo of Doumit somehow getting his hand in there before the tag of Yan Gomes.

Doumit_slo-mo0002_1_medium

Kudos to umpire Eric Cooper, who does the right thing in staring at home plate the whole time instead of watching Doumit. Also, I have no clue if Doumit really was safe, but the slo-mo seems to say that Gomes didn't tag Doumit until after he swiped the plate.

2. At first glance, this appears to be just another breaking pitch that strikes out the Indians' Jason Kipnis. At second glance, perhaps after being pointed out by me, it is discovered that said breaking pitch that struck out Jason Kipnis was thrown by White Sox outfielder Casper Wells. This means that Wells is the latest addition to the Position-Players-As-Pitchers All-Star Team, joining Wilson Valdez, Chris Davis, and Drew Butera.

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